Part 51, Chapter 694
Chapter Six Hundred Ninety-Four

19th November 1948


The Subject finally recognized the danger that she represented to herself, immediate family and friends in the face of a major life altering event. The unplanned pregnancy of her closest friend brought this to the surface, along with feelings surrounding prior trauma that had gone undealt with for more than a decade. She agreed that she would continue to discuss these matters with her husband.

Peter paused in his typing. As Kat had described the actions of her mother-in-law, Peter had concluded that it was Margot Blackwood who he felt really needed to be coming into his office. He’d been working with Kat for a decade, since Hans had asked for his help after she’d tried to kill herself. He was finally starting to think that she was putting her traumatic adolescence behind her, still there was the future to consider. How did one handle someone who had spent years turning themselves into a living weapon out of a desire to feel safe? As near as Peter could tell, with careful planning and a great deal of discussion beforehand.

With that, Peter resumed typing up the conclusions from his notes.


Gianna had received no less than three invitations to the concert. This had enabled her to bring Asia and Ilse, much to the chagrin of the Russian Officers who had sent the invitation. It had been a gentle way of letting all three of them know exactly where they stood as far as Gianna was concerned. Still, the prospect of escorting three young women on a Friday night to such an event wasn’t exactly a hardship. For Gianna it was a welcome distraction for what was going on elsewhere in her life. The Russian Committee for Assistance to the War-Stricken, the organization that her mother had founded, and her cousin had revived was looking for her. They had the idea that she could play the same role that her mother had during the First World War and the saintly figure that Georgy had painted her as wasn’t helping matters. It would be incredibly ironic if after years of hiding from Stalin’s goons she was exposed by people who only wanted to make the world a better place. Fortunately for her, a concert of Classical music that was being staged as part of a cultural exchange by the Russian Embassy was the last place on Earth that Grand Duchess Jehane Alexandra would be expected to turn up.

As the concert concluded, the reception began. Gia couldn’t help but noticing that the Officer escorting Ilse seemed to be a bundle of nerves as they entered the reception hall. Word that she was the little sister of the Tigress of Pankow had gotten around. She would probably have a laugh with Ilse and Asia about that on the way home. Not that Sevastian was much better tonight. Asia was laughing about something with her date.

“You were one of the last reporters to interview Stalin?” A voice asked, “Before they sent him off to face eternal judgement.”

“Excuse me?” Gia asked in reply as she turned in the direction of the voice. It was the Pianist, there were rumors that she had been a dissident and critic of the Soviet Union before the war had put an end to that Government.

“You were one of the last people to see that pig?” The Pianist asked, “Yes?”

“I guess, Frau Yudina” Gianna said, aware that this woman’s eyes were boring right through her.

“German honorifics, Dyevushka, really?” Yudina said with a sneer, “They say your mother was Russian, you need to learn to do better.” With that she turned on her heel and walked off.

“Never mind her” Sevastian said, “Maestra Yudina can be a bit much at times…”

Sevastian trailed off and unconsciously snapped to attention out of long habit. Gia followed his gaze and saw that General Malama was walking towards them. “Lieutenant” Dmitri said with a touch of annoyance as he acknowledged Sevastian’s presence. It was clearly a night off and the lack of a drink in his hand suggested that he wasn’t here alone. Gia noticed a handful of people behind him, a woman in her mid-forties and what she assumed were Dmitri’s three children. The oldest, a girl of perhaps sixteen seemed in awe of Gianna. Gianna couldn’t figure why. Two boys, one looked to be thirteen or fourteen and the other probably around ten followed.

“This is Gia, the young woman I was telling you about” Dmitry said.

“You’re really a journalist?” The girl asked.

“At the Berliner Tageblatt” Gianna answered.

“Tanya, dreams of a career like that” Dmitri said.

Gianna was aware of what the name Tanya was a diminutive of, Tatiana. The General had obviously never forgotten his relationship with her mother.

“Learn to type and be prepared to do a lot of hard, thankless work” Gianna replied.

Gianna noticed that she was being subjected to a hard look from Raisa Malama. The General’s wife was trying to determine if Gia was a threat, Dmitri himself had warned that she was a jealous woman. “How have you been?” Gia asked, “We’ve not spoken since the interview last summer.”

“I’ve been well” Dmitri said, unaware that Raisa had looked relived when she’d learned that they’d not spoken in months.

“Did you read the article?” Gianna asked.

“Yes, I did” Dmitri replied, “You made it sound much more romantic than it was.”

“Just the facts, doesn’t always sell papers” Gia said, “People love a good story, even if it didn’t have a happy ending.”

“It’s a Russian story” Dmitri said, “In the end, life went on.”

Gianna couldn’t disagree with that.
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I'm not sure that Kat would ever be in a place where she could be pregnant. She should probably have her tubes removed (ligation severs and ties them off, which has a failure rate; salpingectomy which removes them entirely does not.) Yeah, it's closing a door but for Kat there are monsters behind it.
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Small nitpick.
I realize its a special doctor, but in general a doctor would not be typing up Weekly notes. Rather have it done immediately after the consultation or at least the same day.
“Its a Russian story” says quite a few words here. Even more so ITTL (at the moment). Long term, getting rid of Stalin may be better than winning the war as OTL.
Gia is still flirting with on the edges of outing herself as Jehane and that is going to have repercussions that is far greater then she can comprehend.
Maybe Kat will finally allow herself to be honest about her past, it seems to me that Kat has been deflecting and deceiving herself all these years on what really is her fears, and the people around her have with good intentions have shielded her and prevented her from truly facing the pain head on and only by doing that can she finally be healed and free to be her true self.
cultural exchange by the Russian Embassy was the last place on Earth that Grand Duchess Jehane Alexandra would be expected to turn up
Actually it would be the first place one would look as a member of High Society in a foreign land. If only because it is highly likely that as such a member one would have been invited to the event. Such expatriate societies tend to be rather clannish and highly observant of any new entrants. Trust me on this I have some experience in the matter.
Small nitpick.
I realize its a special doctor, but in general a doctor would not be typing up Weekly notes. Rather have it done immediately after the consultation or at least the same day.
“Its a Russian story” says quite a few words here. Even more so ITTL (at the moment). Long term, getting rid of Stalin may be better than winning the war as OTL.

The weekly notes are likely for the long term PTS study that Kat's a part of.
Part 51, Chapter 695
Chapter Six Hundred Ninety-Five

22nd November 1948


It was originally called the Committee for Temporary Relief to the Victims of War Distress Under the Chairmanship of Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna during the First World War. After the imprisonment and exile of Grand Duchess Tatiana in 1918 the mission of aiding and resettling refugees had continued under a new name until the Bolshevik Government had put a stop to it. Following the Soviet War and the collapse of that Government the organization under its old name, The Russian Committee for Assistance to the War-Stricken, had been revived, it’s services being urgently needed throughout the former Soviet Union. As that crisis had faded they found themselves with requests for assistance from throughout the world as natural disasters and wars continued. They had republished the columns written by their founders, including the Grand Duchess, imploring the world the contribute to their mission and had some success in raising funds.

The tragic death of Tatiana at the hands of Stalin’s agents in British Columbia still rankled the leadership of the Committee. They would have given anything to have their most effective spokesperson back, even after all this time. Then had come the startling rumors, Tatiana’s daughter who had been believed to have died with her mother was alive and living in Berlin. That had been easy to discount at first, but the rumors had persisted until no less than the new Czar, Georgy had confirmed them. The picture he’d painted had been a compelling one. A reclusive, spiritual woman, Jehane Alexandra Lukichna had forgiven the men who had killed her family, preferred her solitude and had no interest being a public figure. The Russian public had been immediately fascinated with her, this young woman who’d suffered deeply and been forced into hiding. She was one of them. The Committee had been interested in finding this girl if only to ascertain her wellbeing for themselves. However, the German Royal family, the Kaiserin Kira Kirillovna, in particular, had no interest in divulging that information. Then a few months ago, the husband of one of the Committee members had said that he’d spoken with a young woman who had an uncanny resemblance to the Grand Duchess living and working in Berlin.

“I don’t understand what that girl’s deal is” Maria Yudina had said, “She flirts on the edge of discovery like if it’s a game then she retreats back to the safety of the life her cousin provides her.”

Yudina had not been impressed during the short meeting she’d had with the young woman in question, this Gianna Strobel, yet had no doubts as to who she’d been meeting with. The family resemblance between her and her mother was incredibly obvious to a few observers who had been around the reception hall the previous night. They had also seen Raisa Malama have a fit of jealousy and get into an argument with her husband. Because of rather tragic circumstances, the Russian demographics were badly skewed. Wives in Russia frequently had good reason to be jealous, there was the threat of what might happen if a younger, more attractive woman might catch their husband’s eye. Raisa had been confronted with a young woman who might be the daughter of her husband’s old flame and that had been too much for her.

Alexandra herself was not at all what they were expecting. She was modern, educated and driven. There was also the aspect of her being the Chief Maid of the Court of the German Empress and had spent the prior years living with the family of the Aide de Camp of the German Empress, a woman with a well-earned reputation for violence.

After some deliberation, it was concluded that they would continue to leave the situation ambiguous. There were still people who hated the Romanovs and they might go after the girl, mistakenly believing her to be a soft target. If Alexandra ever decided to step forward and reveal herself to the world than they would be there to welcome her.

Near Oranienburg

“I recognize that look” The trustee, a middle-aged woman with close cropped hair, “Seen it with my own daughters too many times.”

“Excuse me?” Kat asked, she’d allowed her attention to wander and this woman had paused her sweeping to comment. While Kat wasn’t a guard here, more of an administrative aide really, that didn’t mean that the prisoners were allowed to get too familiar. Not that it stopped them from trying.

“The ‘My thinking is focused south of the equator’ look” The trustee replied, “Something going on there?”

Kat felt her cheeks warm at such a direct question of that nature. “My sister-in-law and best friend, Helene is expecting” Kat stammered, “She’s having a tough time.” That was probably far more than she should have said.

“I see” The trustee said, “And that gets you thinking, after all, tick-tock, right dear.” She said that last part with a wink.

With that the trustee resumed her sweeping and Kat felt like pounding her head on her desk as the implications of that echoed around her head. That would be yet one more uncomfortable thing to talk to Doctor Holz about when she drove to Jena in a couple hours. There had been a whole lot of those sorts of things that she’d been having to talk about lately and Doctor Holz wasn’t ever inclined to just let things slide. Helene had her problems, sure, but her problems were stirring up all sorts of things in Kat that she had thought she had that gotten past years earlier.
It seems that Gianna Strobels' time is up, there are just too many people who have basically pieced together that she is in fact Jehane Alexandria Thomas-Romanova "The Last Grand Duchess".
I would not be surprised that it would be Herr Grossman's last big scoop, much to the chagrin of Maria Acker who has been sitting on the story.